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Storage For Clients
Old 16th April 2019
Gear Nut
Mister_T's Avatar

Storage For Clients

Well I'm cleaning up my project drives and it got me thinking - how long do most of us store projects for our clients? I have a bunch of bare HDDs that I use for archiving sessions and stems, but after 2 years I figure it's ok to nuke the project if I really need the space (especially those really messy ones that seem to take up half a TB or so).

Just curious what your practice is on archiving the projects for clients. One year? Five? Charge the client for keeping an in-house backup? What do you keep, the entire project folder or just a save copy along with the delivered stems and printmasters?
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear
Mundox's Avatar
We charge a small fee per project to archive the sessions.
We promise it for 7 years but I have DDS tapes from the 90's that still work.
It's LTO6 these days.

It depends on what kind of jobs you do but 1-2 years is too short a time frame to delete stuff IMO.
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear

There have been a lot of threads on this subject over the years. Bottom line for us: do you want to be able to look like a hero to your client when they make a sale of their film years from now and need different stems or an update? While I keep their projects forever, the drives they are on will die sooner or later so they better make sure they have what they need when we're done the first time.
Old 17th April 2019
Short term backup for audio and video files is for 6 weeks and then their project goes on to one of our backup disks. We have 35 TB of saved projects. Just last week a client wanted to revisit some materials we did for him in 2007. We were successful in getting it put back up. The one problem is back then we used Final Cut for video and today we use Adobe so if the client wanted to work on their materials from where we left off it would not be easy. We still have Final Cut but no one currently is using it. With Audio we have been with Wavelab since 1995 so it is easy to revisit projects in audio. FWIW.
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear
Ditto Thomas.

Digital storage is so cheap compared to project cost that we just keep it forever. (Amazon is selling raw drives for <$30/TB today.)
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear
Andrew Mottl's Avatar

+1 on looking like hero
Even if it is to revisit old sounds or recordings made that weren't put into the sound library back then, keeping them is a plus.

I have mirrored hard drives for it all and have recently started going with cloud backup too.
There are a few services, some even offering unlimited storage.
The plus with these is you can sometimes even reach stuff and react when you are away from home/studio - had this recently and could be the hero again so to speak.
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear
bitman's Avatar
Just yesterday I was copying files and folder from my DAW's audio drive which took all day and got to watch it copy customer folders after customer folders and wondered why on earth I am keeping these? The "studio" has been closed for shoot, 7 or 8 years now.
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear

There is also the issue of stems vs DAW projects, and how well your current version of the DAW you use will open years-old projects. Many of the plugs used in my older 32-bit projects won't automatically work in the 64 bit world, DAW versions move ever onward and in my case I've changed what app is my main axe in the last while. When one does this, are you obliged to keep a working version of the old app around just in case? On its own machine? Hooked up and ready to go?
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear

I think two-three years might be reasonable, but really it should be emphasized to the client that it's their responsibility to get what they need from the studio and store it and backups for as long as they might need it. I get that it's nice to be a hero, but I also think that once it's stated that the audio post facility is archiving material for many years that's then a burden. It's a promise and it needs to be kept.

Where I work I set up a system with long-term archival that was running for a bit over a decade or so. Eventually it (along with centralized automated backups) was deemed not needed, and now this studio has content ranging back about three-four years I'm guessing. It's really only full, longer and more 'important' content at this point, not the 'lesser' stuff.
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by philper View Post
There is also the issue of stems vs DAW projects, and how well your current version of the DAW you use will open years-old projects. Many of the plugs used in my older 32-bit projects won't automatically work in the 64 bit world, DAW versions move ever onward and in my case I've changed what app is my main axe in the last while. When one does this, are you obliged to keep a working version of the old app around just in case? On its own machine? Hooked up and ready to go?
Good question.

I just had a discussion with someone else about Audiosuite versus live plugins for example. I've often used the former as well as printed the reverb used in the production sound edit and part of that has been to make sure that regardless of where I go some stuff is 100% known to work. Particularly denoising and reverb covering edits I find particularly valuable to 'save' this way. Some of that is awfully time consuming or annoying to deal with compared to for example just a plain old reverb to give a scene some space. I'm exaggerating.. anyway, it's a good question..
Old 17th April 2019
Gear Maniac
Oliver.Lucas's Avatar
While I work on a production I have 3 copies, two in the studio, one in my bag.
When hdds are full I swap the entire set of 3.
I never erase but never charge for backups. Old hdds go the the shelves, when they die they die. I always provide customers with stems.

Larger companies I work for have robots that change the backup tapes automatically. Medium post houses I work with backup manually.
Old 17th April 2019
Gear Addict

My protocol.
Delete all unused audio and sometimes stems, then compress the file with STUFFIF and put it on a HDD, I do NOT recommend Lacie. All of my lacie died. although they are about 15+ years old, most probably power went bad in them. I've been contemplating on getting a Blu Ray burner as those disc can hold max 200GB, not much when you have uncompressed prores video for full length features and can't really put that many shows or films on one disc. Maybe next gen of dics when they hit 1TB. Since dics have a life span of a 100 years or something.
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear
cebolao's Avatar

i keep all my projects "forever"

not for client but for me, sometimes i'm looking for a sound and - tadam! - it was in that movie we made 5 years ago, i know where to look for it
Old 17th April 2019
Lives for gear
Mundox's Avatar
I have an old G4 running OS9 with the old SCSI DDS3 drive tucked away in the corner of the machine room "just in case". End of last year it saved the day when this big rock band decided to remix their album from early 2000 (mixed at a studio that is now defunct) and the only place in town that could retrieve the files off tapes was us.
It took a good part of a week to restore the files but not a single file was missing.
Opened the sessions in PT10 saved as .ptx and off they went.

Had that album been only on hard drives I don't think it would have survived.

My backup system is this:
- Job done --> Carbon copy --> 2 disk RAID backup server
On Fridays from RAID carbon copy ---> Archive Server Drive --> LTO6

So the job lives on 3 disks by the end of the day and 4 disks and tape by the end of the week. And then it will eventually be reduced to 1 disk and tape only.
Most of this is automatic but needs careful management.
For very critical jobs (like major studio ADR sessions when you're burning a hefty amount of salaries by the minute) I run a manual script that backs up the session folder periodically as we record, which lowers my anxiety!

The great thing about using Carbon copy is that it will detect early signs of hard drive failure and you can act on it before too late.
Old 20th April 2019
We keep all projects long term, up to a year on our drives (with redundancy in local backups both on the work server, the local DAW drive, and a dedicated nightly backup to a second network storage), and then tape. The issue is more having a working Akai DD1500 or Fairlight MFX3+ to restore the older data tapes to. But i did manage to get a project from 2002 completely back (including converting from Fairlight to Nuendo) to do an Atmos remix of a theme park documentary last year.
Now we are storing everything on LTO5, and have been through various iterations of tape media starting with the 8mm data tape we used on the Akai and Fairlight.
As audio data is relatively light compared to some applications, we dont need to be on the latest version of LTO.
Old 4 weeks ago
I keep everything, forever. But I strip all the video files, which are usually DNXHD-something, so it doesn't take up a lot of space.
It all lands on a NAS with drives replaced every 3 or so years.
I recommend Seagate drives, because as the German pun goes: "Seagate, oder Seagate nicht..." (It works, or it works not) meaning if they DO go belly up, they usually do it right away, and not after weeks when the stuff that's on them is no longer anywhere else...
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear
Andrew Mottl's Avatar

Originally Posted by tom chapman View Post
"Seagate, oder Seagate nicht..."

Hahahaha... thanks for a laugh after work
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